A design-focused home is nothing without its aesthetic, and a large part of that aesthetic is the selection of furniture, media, and artwork that plays well with the rest of your home’s unique trappings. Regardless of the space, the most important aspect of any home, at least in theory, is the primary living area — an expansive socialization scape where your couches, seating, and coffee tables make their home. But unless you’re going for a barren, minimalistic style, it’s what goes on top of these furnishings that make your living area stand out from the rest of the drab, uninteresting ones that you might see from day-to-day.
But how do you make something like a coffee table a bit more appealing to the naked eye? You top it with some visually-enticing reading material, of course. Not just any reading material will do, however. What you need is something intriguing, unique, and artistic, helping to accent your home’s natural beauty and invite guests into the living area for a quick browse. Below, we’ve highlighted a handful of our favorite coffee table books from around the industry, focusing primarily on harrowing stories, immaculate curation, and style-savvy design.
If you’ve spent any time looking around our site, you’ll know that we love cabins. For us, as well as many, they represent freedom — a departure from the busy, chaotic lifestyle that we lead every day. There’s a certain serenity in isolation, and over the past few years, more individuals have come to a similar realization. In Philip Jodidio’s Cabins, you’ll be treated to an array of stories revolving around the world’s most rustic architecture, stunning visuals, and profound illustrations.
The NoMad Cocktail Book
Becoming a renowned mixologist isn’t always easy, even if you’re making drinks for family or friends. But if you take the time to learn from the pros, things become a little bit easier. That’s what the NoMad Cocktail Book is all about. As a collection of separate recipes packed in with the company’s original Cookbook, readers will find instructions for the creation of over 100 different drink combinations, a service manual outlining the art of drink-making, and a bevy of full-color/black & white illustrations to make their journey into the world of craft cocktails a bit more intuitive. Plus, with tips from a world-renowned mixologist like Leo Robitschek, you can be sure that you’re learning the tricks of the trade from one of the best around.
Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere
We’ve already stated that we love cabins, so when Zach Klein’s 2015 epic, Cabin Porn, was released, we were especially adamant. Aside from its interesting name, this unique coffee table book follows the endeavors of a group of friends from New York as they look to document the world’s most elusive, and isolated handmade homes. What started out as a scrapbook-esque website has now transformed into something a bit more visceral, combining favorite images and projects from the history of Zach Klein’s Tumblr-based blog. Inside, readers are treated to idyllic settings, beautiful symmetry, and enough rustic material to last them a lifetime.
Art of Atari
Art of Atari might just be one of the video game industry’s most underrated gems. If you’re familiar with the groundbreaking console, you’ll be delighted to hear that this unique coffee table book dives directly into the history of the machine, while also outlining dozens of games that became mainstays of the gaming community following its 1972 release. Inside, a collection of early illustration, concept art, and development design pieces offer viewers a dynamic look into one of the industry’s most iconic eras. There are even some rare insights into games that were conceived, conceptualized, and presented, but never came to fruition, for one reason or another.
About Time: Celebrating Men’s Watches
Menswear accessories are a special bunch, but if there’s one time-tested style piece that we love the most, it’s got to be the wristwatch. About Time is a visual adventure, first and foremost, taking its readers deep into the histories of their favorite watches from brands like Audemars Piguet, Omega, Rolex, IWC, Patek Philippe, Hublot, and Tag Hauer. With over 250 high-fidelity photographs, articulate essays, and commentary, this unique coffee table book covers everything, from historic models that have paved the way for the industry’s most intriguing variants, all the way to the more contemporary examples that are currently making waves within the world of horological style. It truly is a celebration of men’s watches.
Waves: Pro Surfers and Their World
Surfing boasts its very own introspective lifestyle. It’s a way of living, as opposed to something that helps you get through your daily life, and because of this, the individuals that are drawn to the sport are naturally intriguing. In the case of professional photographer Thom Gilbert’s intricate coffee table book, Waves, the ocean-savvy atmosphere surrounding some of the world’s most legitimized athletes has been documented, deconstructed, and redefined for a design-focused audience. Within, readers will find immaculate photography from some of Earth’s greatest surfing locales, including New York, California, Hawaii, and Spain, while also providing a more intimate approach toward the understanding of surfers’ lives outside of the sport. Over 300 beautifully-photographed pages document the daily routines of Gilbert’s subjects and feature insightful Q&As, hand-written contributions, and art created by some of surfing’s most prominent individuals.
1000 Record Covers
1000 Record Covers might be one of the most interesting coffee table books we’ve seen in some time, and that’s a difficult judgment to make. This thematically-focused publication allows readers to travel backward through time, revisiting history’s most impactful, important, and innovative albums, as well as the art that was associated with them. From cultural change, anarchy, political strife, and rebellion, all the way to deeper analysis on subjects like life and death, musicians have provided unparalleled commentary on life’s most pressing attributes. In former record-publicity executive Michael Ochs’ immersive book, we learn more about the sweeping changes that took place in the music industry during the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, and garner a greater appreciation for the art (and artists) behind some of our favorite generational albums.
Overview: A New Perspective of Earth
If you’ve ever looked at Earth from above, you’ll understand the grandeur of the wondrous planet we call home. There’s no shortage of photographs taken from the skies, but with the advent of high-definition drone photography and ever-increasing megapixel counts, there has never been a better time to see our world in an entirely new light. In Overview, readers will be treated to over 200 images taken by satellite, paving the way for a greater understanding of humanity’s impact on the Earth. From agriculture, industry, and architecture, all the way to natural phenomena that appeared gradually over time, this book provides interested parties with a new perspective on life, thanks to stunning panoramic views, sharp photography, and great curation.
The Ride Book
The Ride Book is a collection of unique photography surrounding one of the most versatile communities in the world: motorcycling. As the evolutionary sibling of cycling and hobby sports like BMX and mountain biking, these motorized, two-wheeled platforms have undergone something of a renaissance over the past few years, resulting in the growing interest of younger advocates, customizers, and artists who recognize its promise. Within, the Ride Book features a plethora of interesting photographic contributions focusing on the subculture’s many niche offerings, including painstaking craftsmanship, driving skill, technical expertise, and personal freedom, whether that be creative, or tangible. If you’re a fan of motorcycling and what it represents, this is the book for you.
Hit the Road: Vans, Nomads and Roadside Adventures
To say that campers, outfitted vans, and tiny homes have become “trendy” within the past decade might be an understatement, but the fact remains: adventure-mobiles aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. In Hit the Road, readers are introduced to the individuals who have decided to deviate from the normal 9-to-5, opting instead for a nomadic lifestyle within their fully-outfitted vehicles. From Africa to Mongolia, and everywhere in between, this visually-appealing coffee table book provides profound insight into what it takes to lead a liv=fe on the road, what you can expect if you’re planning to take the leap, and even boasts a few the inevitably comical stories that arise while taking a path less traveled.
Custom Bike Life: Passion, Stories & Adventures
Custom Bike Life is yet another book that focuses on the appeal of motorcycling’s expressive roots, and in it, readers can find a handful of interesting stories, commentaries, and photographs surrounding the subculture’s most interesting segments. Whether you’re a fan of cafe racers, choppers, scramblers, or bone-stock bikes, Custom Bike Life is a refreshing escape from the technical magazines and publications surrounding the two-wheeled medium, opting instead for a more intuitive, simplified take on passion, productivity, and community. There’s even thorough coverage of high-profile motorcycling events like Wheels & Waves, Pure & Crafted, as well as many others, providing a unique, behind-the-scenes experience from each.
Off the Road
Life on the road might be daunting, but if you’re looking to take the leap, always remember that many have walked that same path. Coincidentally, Off the Road focuses on that same notion, providing readers with stories and insights from couples, solo travelers, and families that have packed up their belongings for the promise of a life-changing four-wheeled adventure. Inside, a number of different travel styles are analyzed, including more permanent options like well-outfitted VW Busses, Land Rovers, and Mercedes, all the way to short-period vacation platforms like Toyotas and Jeeps. The result? An inspirational collection of motivating photography, text, and input from people who have already become well-acquainted with the mesmerizing nature of off-grid living.
Tree Houses: Fairy Tale Castles in the Air
Traditional houses are cool and all, but if you had the opportunity to live in something a bit more “elevated,” wouldn’t you enjoy the opportunity? In Tree Houses, the fantasy-focused setting of a tree-borne home isn’t all that farfetched. In fact, it’s the norm. Within, you’ll gain a better understanding of the world’s most luxurious and interesting treehouses, including those that have been conceptualized and built by reputable architects, weekend warriors, or families that have a bit of expendable time on their hands to create something undeniably unique for their children. This well-curated collection of photography and chronicled processes is sure to jumpstart your imagination and give you a feel for what it might be like to live out your days amongst the canopies of the world.
Resident Dog: Incredible Homes and the Dogs That Live There
Dogs have always been recognized as man’s best friend, so it’s only natural to assume that their connection to an owner transcends the traditional confines of “master and hound.” Sometimes, the roles are even reversed. In Resident Dog, viewers are gifted with impeccable breakdowns of architectural wonders, oftentimes belonging to architects themselves, with a staunch emphasis on the canine companions that share these homes with their owners. Instead of commentary from builders, denizens, and enthusiasts of the bipedal variety, we’re guided through each mesmerizing dwelling by our four-legged friends — which makes sense, considering they spend as much time, if not more, in the home than we do.
Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech
Virgil Abloh is one of the most recognizable names in the world of streetwear, and his thirst for contemporary design is unquenchable. He didn’t get to where he is today by settling for less, especially since his empire spans far beyond that of clothing and artistry. Inside his self-titled book, readers will find a three-in-one analysis of the designer’s various personas, including a deep dive into his interdisciplinary practices, interviews with industry mainstays revolving around their views, understanding, and admiration for Abloh, and over 1,800 never-before-seen images archiving his various influences, collaborations, and projects. If you’re looking to step into the mind of one of contemporary style’s most prominent figures, this is as close as you’re going to get.
At Glacier’s End
Chris Burkard is one of the world’s foremost creators, and his photographic endeavors have taken him to the furthest reaches of the planet. For his most recent project, he’s taken it upon himself to document Iceland’s wondrous glacial rivers, placing an emphasis on the conservation movement that’s currently underway to save the area’s natural resources and environment. Throughout, readers will be treated to pages upon pages of beautifully-curated photographs, helping to shed light on the fantastical frontier that’s more like an abstract painting than anything else.
Food & Drink Infographics: A Visual Guide to Culinary Pleasures
Food & Drink Infographic is about as scientific as it sounds. If you’re a technical enthusiast that loves to see their information put into a more visual perspective, then this unique culinary novel is for you. Inside, you’ll be able to see informative breakdowns, conversion charts, and recipes for everything from main dishes, appetizers, and snacks, all the way to more refined party pleasantries, like cocktails and other mixed drinks. Food & Drink Infographics is less about the “act” of doing, and more about the secrets and interesting facts surrounding your favorite dishes, meaning that it’s an equally-enticing read if you’re looking for something a bit more entertaining, and less robust.
The Carhartt WIP Archives
Carhartt might have started out as a humble workwear brand, but it wasn’t long before its groundbreaking garments became a symbol of American style. Around the world, the brand’s clothing broke out of the confines of on-site use, and into the mainstream style realm, resulting in its avid use alongside more prominent streetwear staples. In the Carhartt WIP Archives, readers are treated to a comprehensive collection of the brand’s earliest works, including photography, artwork, and essays revolving around its expansion into the monolithic menswear brand that we know today. There are even some in-depth dives into the history and thought process behind some of Carhartt WIP’s most iconic garments, including the Detroit Jacket, Watch Hat, Siberian Jacket, and Cargo Pant.
Porsche’s air-cooled machines have become the centerpiece of many enthusiast collections, and for good reason. Not only do the company’s various platforms boast a long-running history within the world of automotive design and manufacturing, but Porsche has also obtained notoriety as one of the world’s winningest racing franchises, helping to solidify their transcendental cars in the annals of history. With Porsche Milestones, readers will be able to step back into the history of the German auto manufacturer, retracing its steps from the lauded 356, all the way to the contemporary 911, which has become one of, if not the most, recognizable vehicles on the face of the planet.
The Watch Book
The Watch Book is the perfect publication for a true wristwear aficionado, outlining items and examples that stand far and above the rest of the industry as the most notable timepieces around. Inside, readers are treated to a visual and textual treat of mechanical, material, and innovative horology, while begging the question of what time truly means, and why it’s so important. Alongside these photographs and blurbs, the book highlights over 18 of the watch world’s most prolific manufacturers, including Rolex, Cartier, Patek Philippe, and others, helping to define what it is that makes them so unique, and diving deeper into the history of their favorite models.
Hi-Fi: The History of High-End Audio Design
If you can’t go a day without listening to some form of well-produced music, you’d be considered an audiophile. We’re not talking about just any garage-recorded song or album, but the music industry’s most refined, high-fidelity audio design. In Hi-Fi: The History Of High-End Audio Design, readers will find themselves immersed in the humble beginnings of vinyl culture, it’s death, and resurgence, as well as the passionate community that surrounds the replication of high-quality music. Throughout, well-curated photography revolving around equipment, peripherals, and artists, can be seen, helping to shed light on the various mainstays that have helped to define the genre over time.
Full Bleed: New York City Skateboard Photography
Full Bleed: New York City Skate Photography is a rough, gritty look into the rise of skateboarding culture within one of the world’s most populated metropolises. This intriguing book features documentarian photography of the sport before it became a mainstream attraction, focusing primarily on the days where it would adopt street-savvy riders, characters, and artists who wanted to revolt against the common way of life. The book covers the evolution of the sport over the past 30 years, blessing readers with a visceral representation of the culture’s diverse heritage, communities, and styles, as well as work from legendary individuals like Giovanni Reda, Jessica Bard, Ivory Serra, Tobin Yelland, Miki Vuckovich, Thomas Campbell, Larry Clark, Ed Templeton, Jerry Hsu, Atiba Jefferson, Bryce Kanights, Angela Boatwright, and others.
Big Book of Land Rover
If you’ve spent any amount of time perusing our site, you’ll know that we’re huge proponents of Land Rover’s timeless machines. But we’re not the only ones. Throughout the world, collectors, customizers, off-road legends, and weekend warriors have all fostered their love for the iconic 4×4, making it one of the most recognized vehicles in history. In the Big Book of Land Rover, readers are taken on a magnificent journey through the manufacturer’s past, retracing its steps as a military vehicle designer and consumer mainstay, all the way to its heritage as a favorite of Winston Churchill and King George VI. If you’re even remotely interested in one of the most influential off-road vehicles of all time, as well as the company that built it, this book will find plentiful use within your collection.
Marc Newson: Works
Depending on who you ask, Marc Newson is one of the world’s most recognizable designers. He’s tried his hand at everything from interior, industrial, and watch design, all the way to more notable endeavors like automotive and marine architecture. There’s no denying that he’s a jack of all trades, but what does it take to live a day in his shoes? In Works, readers are treated to a handful of chronological entries that retrace the steps of his career, as well as detailed studies of his widely-recognized pursuits, including the Qantas Airbus A380, Aquariva boat, and Ikepod watch.
75 Years of Marvel: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen
We’re rounding out our list with 75 Years of Marvel: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen. Not only does this book gloriously illustrate the history of one of the world’s most prominent comic companies, but it also gives readers an in-depth look at the histories and conceptualization processes behind many of their favorite characters, including The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Avengers, and Thor. If you’re a fan of the universe revolving around all of Marvel’s most prominent characters, you’ll find TASCHEN’s “magnum opus” to be the perfect coffee-table book to get lost in during those laid-back afternoons.
The 20 Best Coffee Tables For Any Budget
Reading a guide about coffee table books when you don’t own a coffee table? Let’s remedy that by heading over to our guide on the best coffee tables for any budget, where we outline some perfect centerpieces for your living area.